The stunning landscape of Lousã Mountain is the perfect setting of 12 enchanting Schist Villages: Aigra Nova, Aigra Velha, Candal, Casal de São Simão, Casal Novo, Cerdeira, Chiqueiro, Comareira, Ferraria de São João, Gondramaz, Pena and Talasnal. Precious jewels at the heart of an inspiring nature!
Enjoying its proximity to the panoramic road which connects the Serra da Lousã Schist Villages to the neveiros (snow keepers) in Nave de Santo António, Aigra Nova has been brought back to life.Nowadays, the village is an imperative stopping place both for those who travel through this road and those who come because of the constant activities of Lousitânea (League of Serra da Lousã Friends), which has its headquarters in this village, in the same building as the Schist Villages Store. With this organization, it is possible not only to participate in many organized hikes which take you, for example, to the Maternity of Trees, an incubator in which you can sponsor one of the specimens, or to participate in one of many environmental education programs. Aigra Nova is a privileged meeting point for those who wish to know what is best done in recovering memories, traditions and heritage at Serra da Lousã.
Three kilometres away, you will find the highest spot in Serra da Lousã: the quiet village of Aigra Velha. With one single street, this small village is the ideal place to be far away from everything. Apart from a handful of well-preserved houses in a defensive shape, some of which can be rented, there’s nothing more except for cattle and apparently endless land all around. It’s not rare to see a dear or boars near-by. Wolves, which once forced people to build internal connections between the houses, have left this land. Find shelter here and listen to the old stories left by caravans of traders before you leave to discover Penedos de Góis, the Oitava Forest Park and Ribeira da Pena.
Candal is one of the most accessible Schist Villages. Located next to the national road which connects Lousã to Castanheira de Pêra, this small village presents its visitors with schist houses, a threshing floor, a chapel, a fountain and a public washing tank, all traces from the rural world which have been preserved. But it also offers you good company from mountain people. It is worth your while to visit it, make an effort to climb the path to reach the overlook and enjoy the stunning panoramic view over the Candal Stream.
This is the ideal place to work out your appetite before you leave to explore the landscape and monumental treasures of Serra da Lousã like the Biological Park, the Trevim or the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows.
Casal de São Simão
From the hands of city people who saw Schist Villages as a getaway for weekends, Casal de São Simão created a new feeling of community. This one street village, now recovered, where each house follows the original design and was recovered with traditional materials, has a fountain, a chapel and a footpath which leads to a river beach. It also has a Schist Village Store, a restaurant and an organization. This renovated notion of community living is a new lifestyle which values the contrast between urban standards and rural values in Central Portugal.
Here you will find all this in one place where there is always something to do: caves to conduct speleology, a mountain to explore in MTB rides or pedestrian walks, dams and water streams inviting you to try canoeing.
Surrounded by endless green, Casal Novo is the living in the country dream come true. Little by little, this village, which was once abandoned, has been regaining inhabitants to its relatively large schist houses where overlooks and balconies break the monotony. A steep staircase, which is also the main street, leads to two threshing floors from which you can see the view over the beautiful Serra da Lousã. There are two trails passing through the village which connect it to Chiqueiro and Talasnal, two near-by villages with which Casal Novo has a special relationshig. Walking or by MTB, you should get on your way.
In Cerdeira, silence is only disturbed by the sound of the wind in the trees and an occasional distant bang coming from the studio of craftswoman Kristen Thomas who puts her obvious love for the village into her themes and materials. A little further on, you will find the António Carlos Andrade garden with aromatic, medicinal and seasoning herbs which derive the best out of the earth. Either one or the other find in Cerdeira what so many people are still looking for: a magic place where projects come true in an entirely rural background. A chapel and a handful of houses perfectly integrated into the landscape, the schist floor which leads to a small wooden bridge, a fountain murmuring a lullaby. Everything here is deeply romantic.
A dream place waiting to make other dreams come true.
It is believed that it once was an important mountain village, but nowadays, Chiqueiro is one of the smallest Schist Villages. However, it captivates visitors right from the first glance. To stroll through the chapel, the tank and the fountain, while observing the schist houses, where people still live like they did in ancient times, and the small herds which pass through the entire village or just enjoy the magnificent landscape are simple, but truly rewarding pleasures. The village shares its History and culture with Casal Novo and Talasnal and has a strong connection with them. It is a triangle of neighbouring villages you should explore at Serra da Lousã.
Strategically located, Comareira is the ideal place to start exploring Serra da Lousã. Take a dive at the river beaches of Peneda, Pé Escuro e Canaveias, climb the rocks at Góis, explore the Oitava Park or take part in a pedestrian walk organized by the Lousitânea Organization to plant different endangered species of trees with your own hands. But you will only need this village, with its houses connected to each other and their eye-catching orchards, the overlook showing an endless landscape and the sound of passing herds to never forget this place. Take the challenge to discover Comareira and, at the end of the day, take refuge at Casa Abrigo (Shelter House) where comfort awaits you.
Ferraria de São João
The pedestrian path which connects Ferraria de São João to the neighbouring village of Casal de São Simão is increasingly used. The arrival of new residents has brought new opportunities for the village to celebrate old local traditions in popular and religious festivals in which everyone participates. The inhabitants of the village dedicate themselves to farming and herding and their houses usually have two floors: the bottom one is made of stone and used as a storage room and corral while the upper one is plastered and is used to shelter its residents. But with this unique feeling, Ferraria de São João has also been receiving many tourists who are attracted to this village because of its beauty, the excellent conditions to MTB and also because of the caves which speleology lovers like to explore.
In Gondramaz, schist has its own unique colour, as if it wants to highlight the unique personality of its inhabitants. With its remodelled buildings, according to the Schist Villages network plan, Gondramaz is now the home for recognized international plastic artists. But the village is also a mandatory stop place for those who like sports like downhill or MTB and it is the place where the Pátio do Xisto, a tourist project in rural environment, which has been much talked about, first started. It is a pleasure to stroll through the streets where everything is made out of schist and the floor you step on is a true work of art, until you follow a pedestrian track beyond the houses which will lead you into the woods on your way to Penedo dos Corvos.
The village of Pena has a clear water stream with the same name which brings it to life. Used for baths and watering, this stream also offers you the pleasure of enjoying waterfalls and lakes, surrounded by green landscape among which you will discover one-hundred-year-old chestnuts which are a part of this place’s natural heritage. Surrounded by the Góis Rocks, this is a privileged place to take the routes that, through more or less winding paths, take you exploring Serra da Lousã. Along with the villages of Aigre Velha, Aigra Nova and Comareira, Pena is a part of a group of Schist Villages included in the panoramic road which leads to Trevim. Take one of the challenges the mountain has to offer and, after an adventure, find comfort again at a rural tourism house recovered thanks to local knowledge: the Cerejinha House.
When seen from far away, having Trevim as the background, Talasnal is like an illustrated postcard. In this village, the largest of the Serra da Lousã Schist Villages, Nature lives side by side with many entertainment and active sport options. Surrounded by green landscape, the dark houses supporting each other, two traditional olive oil presses moved by water power, and the fountain, all of them surrounded by trees, create the ideal set to feel the spirit of Central Portugal. It is the same spirit which creates fun talks at the “O Curral” bar or at the village’s restaurant. For desert, you should not try to resist tasting Talasnicos, small convent cakes created by a Talasnal native family. Taste this little piece of Heaven, created by mountain knowledge.